Posts

Call for a test team        

Release 2.0 is coming up. As always we do very intensive testing of the BIMserver platform. The 2.0 release has some major changes that drastically effect plugins and webmodules. To make sure all components interact correctly, we need some drastic human testing. Therefore we are looking for people that want to test the tools and send feedback to developers.

The deal is simple: we send you a beta version of BIMserver 2.0 with lots of plugins. You use it (preferably with a screenrecorder) and send us back issues that you find. You should include logfiles, database, original IFC data, etc.  As a thank you we will overload you with eternal gratitude and some of our goodies.

When you feel you are up to this task, please fill out the form. Thank you for making these tools become better!

 

Sneak preview 1.5 release

To get straight to the point: 1.5 will be a developers release. We intent to move to 2.0 as soon as possible after 1.5. The reason we do release 1.5 is because the internals of BIMserver have drastically changed.  When you are a BIMserver developer you should definitely  have a look at this.

There are two drastic changes we made in the upcoming 1.5 release: lower EMF usage and using Maven for plugins.

EMF
From the beginning we used EMF as the core of BIMserver. EMF is what made BIMserver. It was the technology that made it possible to have the network IFC  STEP structure on one side and database objects on the other. Back in 2008 when we started this was a revolution. EMF brought (and brings) flexibility for developers. The metamodel of IFC lowered the threshold for modern developers to develop applications with IFC fast and reliable. The use of this EMF technology also had some downsides.  The most notorious one it the high use of RAM memory of the server it is running on. The main goal of BIMserver was  and is to innovate the industry by providing a stable and reliable base to develop on. We always felt EMF was an important asset to provide developers with a flexible environment.  However, in recent releases the interface API of BIMserver became more flexible, the client side libraries more professional and the internal structure of BIMserver more plugin based. BIMserver developers didn’t use the server side EMF as much anymore as they used to do and the burden of high memory requirements started to weigh on users. This is why we decided to phase out the EMF. This is done in parallel with an increased plugin infrastructure (more on that in the next paragraph). In 1.5 there will be new serializers that directly get data from the database, without keeping it in memory using EMF. The old serializers will also still be in there. Same goas for deserializers and some plugins like ‘basic merging’. In the 2.0 release EMF will be out of (server side) BIMserver completely. The 1.5 release is a release to show developers how the can (and should) change their plugins.

Maven for plugins
As you know, BIMserver is a plugin based framework. Basically every features is a tweakable plugin. You should be able to run BIMserver without any plugin, or just a minimal set. Plugins have their own release cycle and numbering. Often plugin updates are released more often than BIMserver releases. Since the number of plugins and their releases has always been ‘uncluttered’ the process of updating plugins was most efficient by copying a new file into a directory. However, in recent time the number of plugins and releases has drastically increased. This calls for a new plugin infrastructure with higher requirements. We chose to use the Maven framework for this. In the 1.5 release all plugins will be available in Maven Central.  When you download the BIMserver release there will be no plugins in there. During the setup process you can choose to install some basic plugins from the online repository.  After installation, the full list of available plugins can be listed from Maven central and BIMserver admins can install them by simply clicking a button in a running BIMserver. Maven central keeps track of compatibility between plugin releases and BIMserver releases to make sure you don’t install an incompatible plugin. An extra setting in BIMserver makes it possible to have untested plugins also appear in the list.  We are very enthusiastic about this new framework and encourage plugin developers to have a look at the 1.5 release and migrate their plugins to Maven as well. The BIMserver development team has resources available to help and support developers with this migration process.

All in all there are some big changes coming ahead. As we made clear, the 1.5 is mainly a developers release to migrate to 2.0. This doesn’t mean you can’t use it. The performance increase of 1.5 is huge and we are sure many of you will like it a lot.  At this moment we are starting to feel comfortable with the development and are slowly moving towards  testing. As you know we are proud on our enterprise stability testing and won’t release until we have a clear picture of the stability of the 1.5 release.  We can’t wait to release it and get your feedback!

 

Some screenshots of the (in development) plugin pages:

Release 1.4.0 final

Release 1.4.0 final is out. You can find it on https://github.com/opensourceBIM/BIMserver/releases/tag/1.4.0-FINAL-2015-05-14 It is the first release where we are able to combine IFC 2×3 and IFC4 in the same database. Users are now able to have a project with models from different structure. For example the architect in IFC2x3 and the Construction Engineer in IFC4.

We could only test the IFC4 feature very basically. We received a couple ofIFC4 models from users, and found some test models on the internet. Some of these models where not valid IFC4 because they did not comply to the schema. When you have IFC4 files, please send them to us for testing. We will also   put up a public demo/test  server soon.

Because of the collaboration with bimvie.ws, the bimvie.ws plugin is now shipped with the BIMserver release.

Besides the main new feature of IFC4, there are improvements on performance and stability. We intent to release updates of the 1.4.0 version with a date stamp. So keep watch of those on github.

 

 

AEC Hackathon build

The AEC Hackathon 1.1 starts today/tomorrow and they made a special category for open source BIM tools. For that reason we had a close look to our current codebase and decided to build a new release candidate. This is the latest of the latest (it is still warm), but obviously not very well tested…. Find it on our github page. Best of luck to all the hackers! And thank you AEC Hackathon for this great initiative!

Update: have a look at this wiki page for a short introduction of some popular open source BIM tools.

Developers release 1.2.0 (beta release)

Today we released a beta version of 1.2.0. To get things clear right away: it has bugs. Please do not download this if you are an end-user. The main reason to release this new version is to inform developers of changes and, again, a new concept.

The new concept we would like to introduce is still a bit fuzzy. We are developing at it every day and it is changing every day. This is also the reason why we will keep updating the beta releases of 1.2.0 the coming weeks. The most important change you will notice is the ability to add ‘extended data schemas’ to projects and a new plugin type for queries (including the new BimQL plugin). More detailed info and documentation will follow soon.

When you are a developer, things will probably make sense when you dive into the code. When you are a user, a demo that we are preparing will say more than a thousand words. So please be patient for another little while.

After looking at the new release, please send your feedback through http://support.BIMserver.org

Release 1.1.0 final is public

Today the BIMserver.org team is proud to announce that the final release of BIMserver 1.1.0 is public.

Open infrastructure:
After the previous release we expressed our intention to transform the BIMserver software from one big chunk of code, to a flexible cohesion of core modules and plugins. By doing this, we are lowering the threshold for people to create extensions, plugins and custom builds. In other words:  creating a stable, flexible, open infrastructure that everybody can use as a strong base to build something on top. We believe this is important for BIMserver to be able to grow into a movement that will be much bigger than just a couple of programmers.

Credits:
Because of the involvement of great developers and advanced users during the last couple of months, we are proud to have a BIMserver build with several external plugins. Many thanks and credits go to Chris Bogen (USACE) for their COBie plugin and Thomas Krijnen for the IfcOpenShell render engine plugin. Also many thanks to Catenda for intensely testing the framework. We hope your bimsync application will be a success! We are very thankful for the effort and are convinced it has made today’s release much more stable and reliable. Thanks to Rehno Lindeque for creating a connection between his Open Source WebGL Viewer (bimsurfer.org) and BIMserver. Many more developers are creating plugins that will be released for public (hopefully) very soon. We can’t say too much about it today, but we’ll keep you informed via this website. Finally a warm ‘thank you’ to all people that took the time to test or evaluate the BIMserver software and inform us about issues on http://support.BIMserver.org

We had a great year with lots of great talks with prominent people in the world of (open)BIM. We feel a growing interest for the BIMserver.org project and hope the 1.1.0 release will accelerate the use and appreciation of BIMserver.org.

New features:
Although the new, visible features for end-users are not jumping towards you from the screen…. there are some nice ones we would like to note:

  • The storing of incoming files: even when IFC files are corrupt (or for some other reason not stored in the database) the server manager can always obtain the original uploaded file.
  • Visualization is gone: we removed visualization from BIMserver. We think a server should be a server and not a visualization tool. We are teaming up with bimsurfer.org for visualization. Other visualization tools might also join our team in the future.
  • Internal performance updates: we’ve improved a great deal of memory usage in this release.
  • Caching of downloads: Both revision and queries  are now cached on server after the first download. This means any additional download (by any user) will have very fast retrieval . This speeds things up quite a bit in a multiuser environment where several people need to download a merged model or revision to their own computer.
  • Progress bar: lots have asked for it, now it’s there… a progress bar during checkin and download.

Some more technical new features for the people who love nerd-talk:

  • Ignore files renamed to ‘objectIDM’  and are now part of the plug-in structure (to be able to link them dynamically to serializers).
  • Ability to choose renderEngine and objectIDM for a (de)serializer. Default BIMserver is shipped with the TNO IFC Engine Series Library (closed source as a plugin) and open source IfcOpenShell. It’s up to you which one you use.
  • More server settings.
  • Low level calls: We’ve added ‘add’, ‘edit’, ‘delete’ calls in IFC objects through the BIMserver service interface. This allows every application to edit the IFC data without upload/download of a file.
  • Setup page after first startup: No default admin and password anymore. Just choose your own after first startup.
  • Database migrations: In the future, new versions of bimserver will update the database to the new structure (beta).
  • Enable and disable external plugins.
  • More info of your running server and improved logging
  • New protocol buffer interface: In addition to SOAP and REST interface, we now support Protocol Buffers. This is a major step towards real-time (streaming) communication with clients.
  • Client Libraries: Allows developers to ‘talk’ to the API of BIMserver very easy and gives access to the cool BIMserver stuff for their own application (both server-, as client-side).
  • Improved API, including technical documentation: on http://wiki.bimserver.org and JavaDoc of the interface API.
  • Notifications: subscribe your client to notifications on your server. BIMserver events will be published to a special protocol. We even created a ‘Satellite server’ example framework to demonstrate the power of this concept.

A full list of new features, enhancements and bugfixes (the release notes) can be found on our development site: http://dev.bimserver.org/

Download:
There are several builds. If you are looking for the ‘old fashioned one-click-and-it-runs-JAR-file’ you should download “bimserver-including_GUI-1.1.0-final.jar”. This is renamed because it is now a combination of the BIMserver and the GUI Interface (the HTML you get on the screen). When you use the BIMserver with GUI, please note that we do not support all webbrowsers. We test on Chrome (for multiple reasons) and know that Firefox and Safari also work pretty good. We do NOT support users with MS InternetExplorer so please do not use IE with BIMserver.

We also supply a WebArchive build, and both a Jar and WAR of BIMserver without the GUI. Examples of the Satellite server, libraries and other downloads are all available on http://download.bimserver.org  

Installation and setup instruction can be found in a screencast: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6CjPuDknlc. Please note that the license of most of BIMserver has changed from GNU GPL v3 to GNU Affero GPL v3. More info on http://www.bimserver.org/license/

Philosophy:
On every new release people ask us why we do this… We even get question what your hidden business model is and how we rip off people without them noticing. None of this is true. Read our ‘Philosophy’ and guiding principles on http://bimserver.org/about/philosophy/ to understand us a bit more.

Future:
We have great plans for the future. We really believe we are at the edge of implementing a mayor change of how the industry uses BIM. If you understand and acknowledge our guiding principles, and want to team up with us, send us your plans and (broadest possible) motivation to contact@bimserver.org.

 

Third release candidate for 1.1.0

bimserver logo Today we are proud to release the 3rd 1.1.0 release candidate for BIMserver.org. Some new bugs, found by the community, are fixed. This release also has the ‘clash detection’ feature working again (although it will be obsolete after 1.1.0 final). This version has a major update for the ObjectIDM configurations and is tested intensely in a multiuser environment. Please read the full 1.1.0 release notes in our previous blogpost.

Download the 1.1.0-RC3 on download.bimserver.org or on our development site dev.bimserver.org.

Update on 1.1.0: Second release candidate

 After the first release candidate from last week, we’ve got some feedback from you. Thank you very much for that! Thanks to your testing efforts we can now release a second candidate for the 1.1.0 version.

Some bugs were fixed, and the Collada/KML export has improved. There are still issues with the clashdetection but we are working to fix those as soon as possible. Please read the full 1.1.0 release notes in our previous blogpost.

Download the 1.1.0-RC2 on download.bimserver.org or on our development site dev.bimserver.org.

First Release Candidate for version 1.1.

UPDATE April 20: final release is public.

Today the BIMserver.org team is proud to announce that the first Release Candidate of BIMserver 1.1 is public. It has been over a year since the previous release of BIMserver and we have to admit we underestimated the effort. For the enthusiastic users who have high hopes of this release we just want to say: slow down. You won’t see a lot of change… The UserInterface is still… well… ready for improvements. And the new features are not the kind you would passionately talk about during your family diner.

Fundamental changes:
Nonetheless everything changed. When we released the 1.0 version of BIMserver, we released software that had all features we thought a BIMserver should be having (revisioning, merging, user management, change finder, querying, RSS feeds, etc..) and even more (clash detection, rulesets, WebGL viewer, etc….). After the release we expressed our intention to transform the BIMserver software from one big chunk of code, to a flexible cohesion of core modules and plugins. By doing this, we are lowering the threshold for people to create extensions, plugins and custom builds. In other words:  creating a stable, flexible, open infrastructure that everybody can use as a strong base to build something on top. We believe this is important for BIMserver to be able to grow into a movement that will be much bigger than just our small team.

This is the part where we miscalculated. Although the BIMserver software had a layered architecture that already was very flexible, it took some time to unravel serializers, deserializers, render engines, objectIDMs (the new name for ignore files), Graphical Interfaces, and their features. At the end of last year, a beta release was created for developers to ‘get used’ to the new infrastructure. This encouraged lots of developers to create plugins for BIMserver.  Some developers even claimed this 1.1 release should be called a 2.0, because of the structural changes. Others claim this release should have been the 1.0 (and the original 1.0 was just too early).

Credits:
Because of the involvement of great developers and advanced users during the last couple of months, we are proud to have a BIMserver build with several external plugins. Many thanks and credits go to Chris Bogen (USACE) for their COBie plugin and Thomas Krijnen for the IfcOpenShell render engine plugin. Also many thanks to Catenda for intensely testing the framework. We hope your bimsync application will be a success. We are very thankful for the effort and are convinced it has made today’s release much more stable and reliable. Thanks again to Rehno Lindeque for creating a connection between his Open Source WebGL Viewer (bimsurfer.org) and BIMserver. Many more developers are creating plugins that will be released for public (hopefully) very soon. We can’t say too much about it today, but we’ll keep you informed via this website. Finally a warm ‘thank you’ to all people that took the time to test or evaluate the BIMserver software and inform us about issues on http://support.BIMserver.org

We had a great year with lots of great talks with prominent people in the world of (open)BIM. We feel a growing interest for the BIMserver.org project and hope the 1.1 release will accelerate the use and appreciation of BIMserver.org.

New features:
Although the new, visible features for end-users are not jumping towards you from the screen…. there are some nice ones we would like to note:

  • The storing of incoming files: even when IFC files are corrupt (or for some other reason not stored in the database) the server manager can always obtain the original uploaded file.
  • Visualisation is gone: we removed visualization from BIMserver. We think a server should be a server and not a visualization tool. We are teaming up with bimsurfer.org for visualization.
  • Internal performance updates: we’ve improved a great deal of memory usage in this release.
  • Caching of downloads: Both revision and queries  are now cached on server after the first download. This means any additional download (by any user) will have very fast retrieval . This speeds things up quite a bit in a multiuser environment where several people need to download a merged model or revision to their own computer.
  • Progress bar: lots have asked for it, now it’s there… a progress bar during checkin and download.

Some more technical new features for the people who love nerd-talk:

  • Ignore files renamed to ‘objectIDM’  and are now part of the plug-in structure (to be able to link them dynamically to serializers).
  • Ability to choose renderEngine and objectIDM for a (de)serializer. Default BIMserver is shipped with the TNO IFC Engine Series Library (closed source as a plugin) and open source IfcOpenShell. It’s up to you which one you use.
  • More server settings.
  • Low level calls: We’ve added ‘add’, ‘edit’, ‘delete’ calls in IFC objects through the BIMserver API interface. This allows every application to edit the IFC data without upload/download of IFC.
  • Setup page after first startup: No default admin and password anymore. Just choose your own after first startup.
  • Database migrations: In the future, new versions of bimserver will update the database to the new structure. No need to throw away your data every new release anymore!
  • Enable and disable (external) plugins.
  • More info of your running server and improved logging
  • New protocol buffer interface: In addition to SOAP and REST interface, we now support Protocol Buffers. This is a major step towards real-time (streaming) communication with clients.
  • Client Libraries: Allows developers to ‘talk’ to the API of BIMserver very easy and gives access to the cool BIMserver stuff for their own application (both server-, as client-side).
  • Improved API, including technical documentation: on http://wiki.bimserver.org and JavaDoc of the interface API.

A full list of new features, enhancements and bugfixes (the release notes) can be found on our development site: http://dev.bimserver.org/

Download:
Todays release candidate, is a candidate for the final release. Please test this with care and submit your issues on http://support.BIMserver.org. We will try to fix bugs and help you with questions there.

There are several builds. If you are looking for the ‘old fashioned one-click-and-it-runs-JAR-file’ you should download bimserver-combined-1.1.0-RCx.jar. This is renamed to ‘combined’ because it is now a combination of the BIMserver and the GUI Interface (the HTML you get on the screen). When you use the BIMserver with GUI, please not that we do not support all webbrowsers. We test on Chrome (for multiple reasons) and know that Firefox and Safari also work pretty good. We do NOT support users with InternetExplorer so please do not use IE with BIMserver.
Download the builds on our Google Code Development site: http://dev.bimserver.org/

Installation and setup instruction can be found in a screencast: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6CjPuDknlc. Please note that the license of most of BIMserver has changed from GNU GPL v3 to GNU Affero GPL v3. More info on http://www.bimserver.org/license/

Philosophy:
On every new release people ask us why we do this… We even get question what your hidden business model is and how we rip off people without them noticing. None of this is true. Read our ‘Philosophy’ and guiding principles on http://bimserver.org/about/philosophy/ to understand us a bit more.

Future:
We have great plans for the future. We really believe we are at the edge of implementing a mayor change of how the industry uses BIM. If you understand and acknowledge our guiding principles, and want to team up with us, send us your plans and (broadest possible) motivation to contact@bimserver.org.

BIMserver 1.1 beta: developers release

Today we released a beta version of 1.1. To get things clear right away: it has bugs. The main reason to release this new version is to inform developers of the changes and new concept. Since the 1.0 release not a lot of new features were added, but everything changed….  The most important, and radical, change was the introduction of the plugin-infrastructure. The previous release of BIMserver was one big chunk of code; in this new release all functional parts of the code are made modular. The whole import and export interface is put into plugins. The ignore files are now called ‘objectIDMs’ and also modular.

This release of BIMserver.org makes it easier to integrate and communicate with BIMserver. Have a look at the communication schema and possibilities on http://code.google.com/p/bimserver/wiki/Communication

Some other big changes in 1.1beta are:

  • Visualisation is gone: we removed visualization from BIMserver. We think a server should be a server and not a visualization tool. We are teaming up with BIMsurfer.org for visualization.
  • Slit between server and GUI: the graphical user interface of BIMserver sucks. We know… To encourage developers to create a new one, we split the JSP pages from the actual server. Therefor you can now download a server build (only the server) and a combined build (server + jsp GUI).
  • Bimserver now uses internal streaming rather than the creation of temporary files for parsing by the geometry kernel.  There is work in progress to integrate IfcOpenShell as a geometry kernel as well, but that might have to wait till 1.2.
  • Client Library:  Gives you access to plugins and the EMF core client side. As a result this developers  the same advanced possibilities on the client as they have server side.
  • New protocol buffer interface: In addition to SOAP and REST interface, we now support Protocol Buffers. This is a major step towards real-time (streaming) communication with clients.
  • Internal performance updates: we’ve improved a great deal of memory usage in this release.
  • Caching of downloads: Both revision and queries  are now cached on server after the first download. This means any additional download will have very fast retrieval . This speeds things up quite a bit in a multiuser environment where several people need to download a merged model or revision to their own machine.
  • Progress bar: lots have asked for it, now it’s there… a progress bar during upload and download.
  • Plugins: All serializers and deserializers (upload, download) are now plugins that can be activated or deactivated. This infrastructure makes it easy for developers to build on top of BIMserver. There are already several plugins being developed like a very promising COBie plugin.

You can find the release on this location: http://tools.bimtoolset.org/BIMserver/1.1beta (which is our archive site). We call this a 1.1beta, but it will be placed in subfolders, ordered by date. Therefore we can update the release every couple of days, responding to your feedback.

Before (and during) your evaluation, please have a look at the know issues  and the documentation. The documentation on the wiki will grow, responding to your feedback.

Please place your feedback on http://support.BIMserver.org